For a horticulturist it’s birthday and Christmas rolled into one, the day that grannies, royals and Instagrammers have been hanging on for ever since the last RHS Chelsea Flower Show waaaay back in 2019, and boy are people getting into it.
The main action, if you can get a piece of it, is taking place in the expansive grounds of the Royal Hospital, where venerable flower experts don their pince-nez to examine a rare aspidistra while city folk do deals, ladies-what-lunch do lunch and c-list celebs pose for awkward selfies in the hope that Princess Kate might waft by. For the rest of us, though, there’s plenty of floral tourism that can be done within SW3 even without a ticket for Chelsea’s eponymous flower show.
Chelsea In Bloom is an annual event that sees businesses around the Royal Borough decked out in some of the most gorgeous displays of colour and floral beauty London has ever seen.
Organisers are keen to evoke a spirit of optimism (aren't we all?)...
Each year takes a different theme and this year’s is ‘Extraordinary Voyages’, which has been inspired by Jules Verne’s novel Around The World In 80 Days.
Organisers are keen to evoke a spirit of optimism (aren’t we all?) as well as adventure and hark back to the golden age of travel. It’s also the same theme as last year, so many of those involved can just dust over their old designs.
Centred around the beating heart of Chelsea, Sloane Square, local businesses are getting into the spirit of the event to create stunning installations.
From a monstrous octopus on Pavilion Road to whimsical toadstools outside the King’s Road’s The Ivy Chelsea Garden, the spectacle really is impressive and, best of all, it’s also free!
The spectacle really is impressive and, best of all it's also free...
With the possible exception of hay fever sufferers, there’s every reason to head to Chelsea right this second to take in the creations.
Chelsea in Bloom is the brainchild of local landlord Cadogan Estates, and is intended as a way to celebrate their retailers, restaurants and hotels, we well as giving Londoners and those from further afield a reason to visit and maximise footfall.
The number of participants has grown dramatically, with seemingly every other shop teeming with floral designs, all vying for one of the coveted awards, voted on by us the public (though it’s currently unclear how).
And could anything be more welcome after the last 20 months or so than to escape to one of London’s prettiest areas for a wander and enjoy some of Britain’s most accessible horticulture?
One of our favourites has to be David Mellor's installation, harking back to the 1950s and Italy's The Mille Miglia motor race...
Could anything be more welcome after the last 20 months or so than to escape to one of London's prettiest areas for a wander and enjoy some of Britain's most accessible horticulture?
One of our favourites has to be David Mellor’s installation, harking back to the 1950s and Italy’s The Mille Miglia motor race, which ran between 1927 and 1957.
The display centres around a restored Isetta microcar or ‘bubble car’ as they were known, for obvious reasons. In 1954 a number of Isetta microcars entered the endurance race which sees competitors race through the picturesque roads of Italy.
The David Mellor cutlery factory has painstakingly restored the car, led by Corin Mellor, and it completes the ode to the race.
Chelsea in Bloom is also a chance to experience more that Chelsea has to offer. After all, once you’re there it would be rude to not stick around and enjoy a drink. Or three.
Luckily they’ve thought ahead and arranged a series of events to keep visitors entertained.
Chelsea in Bloom is also a chance to experience more that Chelsea has to offer...
Ranging from complimentary rickshaw rides to complimentary desserts at Cinquecento you don’t have to break the bank.
There are also a slew of cocktails that have been specially minted to recognise Chelsea In Bloom. These include Sticks’N’Sushi’s floral number ‘Chelsea’s Hana’, a blend of Ultimate de Provence Rosé wine, shaken with Bombay Sapphire, hibiscus liquor and fresh lemon, served with a hibiscus sugar rim and edible flowers.
For what it’s worth I’ll be heading down to enjoy Chelsea In Bloom this week, and I heartily recommend that you do to!